Starting pitchers Beau Brieske and Alex Faedo already have made their major-league debuts for the Detroit Tigers this season.
Left-hander Joey Wentz will join them in the fourth game of a five-game series against the visiting Oakland Athletics on Wednesday night.
Wentz, acquired in a 2019 trade with the Atlanta Braves, underwent Tommy John surgery in 2020. He started 18 games at the Single-A and Double-A levels last season.
In five starts with Triple-A Toledo this spring, Wentz was 0-1 with a 4.12 ERA. He has 26 strikeouts in 19 2/3 innings, including eight over four innings in his most recent start.
“Last start, I thought all my pitches were pretty good,” Wentz, 24, told the Detroit Free Press. “I was throwing four-seam, changeup, curveball, kind of added a cutter. I’m excited about that. … We talked about adding another breaking pitch that I’m going to throw for strikes. … I think it can be a big weapon for me.”
Wentz would probably have remained at Triple-A longer, but Casey Mize and Matt Manning are rehabbing from injuries.
“In the strike zone, his stuff plays at every level against any lineup,” Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said. “He’s got a really dynamic fastball.”
Wentz feels he’s ready to go.
“You hear guys talk about being ahead in the count, and I think that could potentially be the biggest thing,” he said. “Outside of that, just trying to control the emotions and treat it as another baseball game. I’ve played a lot of them.”
The Tigers snapped a six-game losing streak with a 6-0 victory in the opener of a doubleheader on Tuesday. Then, they were nearly shut out for the third time in four games. They scored on a bases-loaded walk in the ninth inning of a 4-1 loss in the nightcap.
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop showed some signs of coming out of his season-long slump, collecting three hits in the two games, including a homer.
“These guys need hits,” Hinch said. “You can encourage them, you can hug them, you can love on them, but what they need is hits. For him to have a day like that, hopefully Jonathan can go home knowing he’s on the right track.”
Oakland has won two of the first three games of the series after losing nine straight.
Left-hander Zach Logue (1-1, 2.84 ERA) will make his third career appearance and second major-league start for the A’s. He gave up two solo homers to Minnesota in five innings on Friday while notching five strikeouts.
Oakland had some nervous moments in the doubleheader opener. Left fielder Chad Pinder and shortstop Elvis Andrus collided while going after Willi Castro’s bloop single. Pinder was slow to get up but remained in the game. Neither played in the nightcap.
“Hopefully, we escaped significant injuries from both those guys, but obviously, we’ll have to wait on Chad to see how he’s doing,” manager Mark Kotsay said. “I imagine they’ll both be pretty sore. Any time there’s a collision with someone diving toward the infield, with the infielder running in that direction, you fear that there’s significant trauma to the face and that area. … It’s scary running out there because you do think about the worst-case scenario when you’re on your way.”
–Field Level Media